Doing laundry is part of almost every single person’s weekly routine. Basic practices of laundry include using detergent to wash the clothes and using dryer sheets when drying them. Some people are beginning to look for dryer sheet alternatives. But why do we use dryer sheets in the first place? The simple answer to this question is that they prevent static on your clothes. People also choose to use scented ones to add a fragrance to their clean clothing and most dryer sheets include a fabric softening agent that will disperse through your load.
Why Should You Use an Alternative to Dryer Sheets?
Recently, people have begun to turn away from the usual dryer sheets and look for better options. The bottom line is that they contain chemicals. They are not reusable and therefore are not eco-friendly. The chemicals and fragrances that dryer sheets contain are known to irritate the skin, cause headaches, and could even cause long-term health effects. Not only that, they make your clothing more flammable which can cause a huge risk. Looking at this, it’s obvious that dryer sheets are not the best option for your laundry routine. However, the benefits of dryer sheets are still desirable. So, what are the alternatives?
Use Household Items
The most simple fix to the dryer sheet problem is to check your pantry. You most likely have one or all of these items already: baking soda, vinegar, or aluminum foil. Baking soda is frequently used for cleaning purposes. For smaller loads use ¼ cup of baking soda and ½ for larger loads. Just throw it in during the wash cycle and this will reduce static and you may even notice that it softens your clothes.
There are two options for how you use vinegar. Either add about a ¼ cup directly into your wash or take a cloth soaked in vinegar and throw that into your dryer with the clothes. You probably already use aluminum foil every day. Get a roll and tear off a sheet. Crumple this sheet into a ball (about the size of a baseball). Throw it in your dryer and continue your laundry as you normally would. It’s as simple as that and you can even reuse this tin foil ball for multiple loads.
Take a Trip to the Store or Browse Online
One of the most popular dryer sheet alternatives is buying wool balls. Ranging from about two to seven dollars, these balls are cost-friendly and will last you a long time. Simply throw the wool balls in with your drying cycle. The wool balls will absorb the water from your clothes to dry them faster and reduce static.
Reusable dryer sheets are another option you can purchase. These are more expensive than the wool balls, but will also last you a long time. They are made out of fabric and most brands will not contain chemicals or fragrances. Just as a regular dryer sheet, throw them in your dryer.
An option you’ve probably never even heard of is using soap nuts. These are grown in India and Nepal and are a natural, eco-friendly option for your laundry. When added to your wash cycle, they produce the same effect as detergent. They are known to reduce static.
Make Your Own
Some people love a good DIY. If making your own dryer sheets is an option, why not give them a try? You can take old washcloths or scrap/used pieces of fabric. You will need a tight glass container for storage. Pile your cloth inside the container. Measure out about ½ cup of vinegar. If you want a scent you can add a few drops of essential oil and mix it together. Pour this into your container to dampen your cloth. Make sure not to soak them.
Keep them in this container till it is time for use. Wring out the excess liquid from the cloth before adding it to the dryer. To reuse, you can put the cloth back in the jar and add more vinegar to dampen it.
Ditch Them All Together
Maybe you don’t have the time or simply do not want to try an alternative. Many people ditch them and notice a small if any difference in their clothes. Most detergents and fabric softeners already have anti-static properties. You can even hang your clothes out to dry. Get a clothesline and leave your clothes outside in the sunlight or in a warm room. This may take longer than the machine dryer, but if you want to reduce the risk of static it’s an easy option.
You could also reduce your drying time. The longer clothes stay in the dryer, the more likely they are to produce static. Your clothes should be taken out as soon as they are dry. Newer dryers have a sensor option that will stop once it detects that your clothes are dry. If you don’t have this option, you will have to use some trial and error to find how long it takes your clothes to dry.
You Have Options, Now What?
Whichever dryer sheet alternatives you choose to use are up to preference. You may need to do some experimenting to see which method works best for your laundry routine. Some people may choose to keep using dryer sheets, but knowing that there are other options out there is important for those wary of dryer sheet effects.
Written by Jamie Murtha